The Dharma-Dwelling Monastery
One of Korea's very greatest temples,
within the Sogni-san National Park
A major sacred site on the Baekdu-daegan Cordillera
and one of Korea's UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites
One of Korea's Top-Seven Temples and Top-25 Temples to visit
|View on ticket from my visit in September 1982, with cement Mireuk Statue
I first "discovered" the Sanshin here, on an expert-led R.A.S.-KB Tour to this great temple!
|2006 Visit to Beopju-sa with my Tourism Students
magnificent Sanshin painting of Sujeong-am Hermitage
Sogni-san Seongbul-sa Temple
Osong Waterfall and Trail
Baek-il San-jedan Mountain-Ceremony-Altar
Hyeonje-bong Jang-gojae Pass Sanshin-gak
Goesan County and Chilbo-san
Hwayang-dong Scenic Gorge
Gubyeong-san Punghyeol Site
Sogni-san Index Page
San-shin Site Contents Page
|The Palsang-jeon with snow in January
|The famous Palsang-jeon [Eight Phases Hall], a 5-story Pagoda enshrining Eight Paintings of the Life of
Sakyamuni the Historical Buddha. This was built in 1624 and dedicated different worship purposes, but is
presumed to be on the site and roughly following the design of the library/study wooden-pagoda (like those of China)
built by Master Uisin in 553 to enshrine the scriptures that he brought from India, that had been rebuilt several
times after. Today it is Korea's Only Traditional Wooden Pagoda, and Tallest Pagoda, National Treasure #55
|Interior through a doorway, 2006 -- 500 white Buddhas are arranged all-around, in front of paintings
|Rock-carved Seated Mireuk-bul [Maitreya Buddha] of Beopju-sa's Entranceway, Korean Treasure #216
It was carved on this 6-meter boulder in 776-86, or maybe in the early Goryeo era (2nd Golden Age).
That the Future Buddha is sitting in a lotus-flower chair, and has distinctly curly hair, are very rare motifs in
these sorts of cliff-engravings. His head is somewhat more 3-D while the lower body is carved shallowly,
giving him the appearance of leaning-forward from the perspective of a penitent standing or kneeling in-front
and looking up, which is common in these. His hands are in front of his chest in a complex "Teaching" mudra.
In the lower-left corner of this carving (left of his right foot), there is an extremely weathered petroglyph
illustrating the name-foundation-story of Mt. Sogni-san, now almost imperceptible but confirmed by
archaeologists (see just below). It depicts a person leading a loaded horse and a ox kneeling in front
of the horse -- this would be Great Master Jinpyo coming to visit with a load of Beopsang Sutra and
Mireuk-bul scriptures, and one of the cows that in the local fields that bowed to him, causing the
farmers to renounce the secular world in these remote mountains.
|The Iron Pot of 2.7m diameter & 1.2m hight, created to cook 3000 bowls of rice, as a communal-meal
gesture when this temple had at least that many monks in-attendance, probably in the late 11th Century.
Korean Treasure #1413
|The Giant Stone Lotus Basin, carved in the 800s, presumably used as a lotus-pond,
as a symbol of enlightenment that blossoms "pure-clean, above the mundane mud".
National Treasure #64
|Octagonal Stone Lantern of the Sa-Cheonwang [Four Heavenly Guardian Kings]
Late 8th Century (First Golden Age), Korean Treasure #15
|Octagonal Stone Lantern with Twin Lions Pedestal
Korea’s 2nd-oldest existing "Lion"-motif stonework, after those on the Bunhwang-sa Brick Pagoda
Now thought to have been carved in 720 during the reign of Unified Shilla King
Seongdeok (r. 702-737; First Golden Age), National Treasure #5
|Photo in the Korea Times, October 1981 -- just one year before my first visit!
|A 1997 North Chungcheong Province tourism-brochure shows the new but-yet-unpainted Mireuk Statue
|Now fully gold-gilded, 2006
|Left Photo used from: Steve46814 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
|Beopju-sa's Daeung-bojeon, restored by Master Byeokam with royal financing in
1624, during the reign of Joseon King Injo -- improving upon the model of Master
Uisang's previous Daejeokgwang-jeon which had been destroyed in the Imjin War.
It is one of the three biggest traditional (pre-1900) Buddhist Halls in Korea along
with the Geungnak-jeon of Muryang-sa and the Gakhwang-jeon of Hwaeom-sa,
and a very rare 2-story one. Korean Treasure #915
It enshrines the Clay Seated Biro-bul [Vairocana the Buddha of Cosmic Light]
Triad, the largest seated buddha-statues extant in Korea before 1900.
also 1624, Korean Treasure #1360
|Stone Standing Huigyeon Bodhisattva offering a large incense burner on its head.
Its meaning and history remains a mystery, but the exquisite carvings of the ceremonial robe draped
on the back makes experts think that it was made by the same sculptor as the Twin Lion Stone
Lantern (above). Face is severely damaged, but the rest of the statue is in relatively good condition.
About 720 (First Golden Age), Korean Treasure #1417
|Wontong Bojeon Hall, dedicated to Gwanse-eum Bosal the Bodhisattva of Compassion
Built in 1650-55 Korean Treasure 916
|Gold-Gilded Wooden Seated Statue of Gwanse-eum Bosal the Bodhisattva of Compassion,
unusually ornate, in the Wontong Bojeon Hall, made in 1655. Korean Treasure 1361
|The Bronze Bell of Beopju-sa, regarded as one of the very finest late-era traditional Korean temple bells
1636 Korean Treasure 1858
|The Jeokmyeol-bogung Shrine of Beopju-sa, with Neungin Hall in front of the Sejon-saritap pagoda
|The current Neungin Hall (能仁殿) in 2017; this rare neungin term means
that Buddha is the one who can "edify and benefit all regeneration".
|The Sejon-saritap Stupa that enshrines the saria Relics of Sakyamuni
|This hall previously did double-duty, also serving as Nahan-jeon [Arhat Disciples of Sakyamuni Budda Hall]
|It is now purely a Jeokmyeol-bogung Shrine, with the main altar window looking directly at the holy
stupa behind, without any statues, in the unique Korean style pioneeed by Master Jajang at Tongdo-sa.
|Missionary photos of Beopju-sa about 1910
|The Samseong-gak, and its new Sanshin-do, Nov 2006
I don't know what happened to the previous one above.
|The early-Goryeo-era Iron Flagpole and Stone Lotus
Basin (see below) in front of the broken boulders
where this Mireuk-bul is carved, in early November
|Magnificent mountains behind Beopju-sa, Nov. 2006 -- L-to-R:
the Daeung-bojeon, two treasured Lanterns, Four Dharma Instruments Pavilion, Monastic Residence area
|My photo of the wonderful previous modern Sanshin-taenghwa [Mountain-Spirit Altar-Painting], September
1982, my first visit, on an RAS Tour. This was my first "discovery" of Sanshin, it was fascinating -- "why is this
plainly Daoist (non-Buddhist) icon in the middle of a major Buddhist temple??" -- led to a 40-year obsession,
hobby & career! Alan Carter Covell used this painting for the cover of his great book on Korean Shamanism.
In this painting, the girl dongja attendant holding a basket of Immortal Peaches is normal, but the boy dongja
attendant holding a CARROT (instead of a ginseng root!) is bizarre, unique -- I have never figured-out
whether it's a weird mistake, or an intentional joke: a play on similar words: carrot is 당근 dang-geun and the
mythical "Founder of Korea", often hinted-at in motifs in these icons, is 단군 Dan-gun -- sort-of close!?!?